The year after production of the legendary 911 had commenced in 1964, Porsche introduced the similarly bodied 912 as an entry-level model to the prestigious German marque. As such, it shared its monocoque steel chassis with that of the 911, together with independent front torsion bar and trailing arm rear suspension with all-around disc brakes. At the 912's heart, however, was a 1582-cc flat four-cylinder engine-rather than the 911's 1991-cc six-cylinder unit-that had last seen service in the final 356 model that the 911 had effectively replaced. Although the 912's performance was naturally not as rapid as that of its larger-engined stablemate, its 90 bhp at 5,880 rpm, allied to 90 1b.-ft. at 3,500 rpm, was nonetheless sufficient to provide respectable 0-60 mph acceleration in 11.9 seconds and an impressive top speed of 121mph.

Changes during the 912's four-year production life were minimal, the most notable being a power output increase in 1966 to 102 bhp, again at 5,800 rpm and the 2.24-inch increase in wheelbase introduced simultaneously with the 911 late in 1968. The former improved overall acceleration, with 0-60 mph dropping to 11.5 seconds, while the extra wheelbase length markedly improved the model's handling; the benefit of this to the 912 was to be short lived, however, Porsche having introduced a relatively inexpensive base model 911, the 911T, with carburetors rather than fuel injection. This was to prove a popular addition to the range, with the result that the 912 was phased out of production over 1968-69 after only around 200 long-wheelbase examples had been built.

This very original example pictured here has had the benefit of residing in one person's ownership from new. Described as good in every respect and still retaining the original instrumentation and radio, it is finished in dark green with a black interior.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1968 Porsche 912

This lovely 912 did not sell on the podium at Coys’ Silverstone auction in July, but was afterward declared sold for the end-of-the-world price of $14,760. This price can only be understood after you’ve spent $20,000 trying to restore a car to a comparable level. Original cars, in pristine condition, can blow the top off of anyone’s price guide. This was one of those enchanting cars.

However, the description in the auction catalog, while equally enchanting, was not completely accurate. First, there was no horsepower increase during the 912’s run; it remained at 90 hp (DIN) from 1965 to 1969. The 912 wasn’t phased out in 1968, and in fact ran through the entire 1969 year, Porsche building an estimated 4,679 cars in 1968 and 6,609 long-wheelbase cars in 1969. Over 29,000 912s were built, so these are hardly rare cars.

The 911T price was too far away from the 912 for the cars to compete. The 912 was dropped because in 1970 the 914 was introduced as the low-priced car and demand for 911s had risen to the point where 912 bodies were needed for the higher margin 911.

Finally, the 912 is called “an affordable and increasingly popular” Porsche. I couldn’t agree less with either comment. $14,760 buys a tremendous amount of Porsche today, including decent 356B Coupes, a wide selection of early 911s (1966-73) or more recent 911SCs (1978-83). The 912 cannot compete with the 356 in collectability. It can’t touch any good 911 in durability, reliability, or driving performance. I do not see the 912 as particularly affordable and certainly do not see it as an increasingly popular model. Of course, this is my opinion, and the auction company is entitled to theirs.

This 912 may have been an exceptional car that brought an exceptional price, but I wouldn’t encourage you to try this at home. – Jim Schrager

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